Pet Evacuation Plan

An evacuation plan is a necessity for every home, especially if you live in an area where fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, flooding, and other disasters are a possibility. I am sure you created an evacuation plan for your home and practice with your kiddos. But… raise your hand if you have created a plan for your furbabies? I will admit, I have a plan for tornados but not fires or such. Take these steps to add your pets to your evacuation plan.

Assign pet evacuation to an adult. Everyone should know how to act during an evacuation, and that includes assigning one parent or adult to the pets. This allows the other parent and the children to focus on their part of the evacuation plan, so there’s no confusion during a high-stress moment when time is of the essence.

Keep evacuation maps and pet carriers readily accessible. If you need to evacuate, you should know exactly where every important item is. If you pets require carriers, keep them in a place that you can access easily.

Practice your plan. Include your pets in your home evacuation drills. It’ll help you see how they will respond and make changes to your plan if necessary. Getting your dog out of a window may not be as simple as you think!

Be prepared in case you get separated from your pets. No matter how much you drill your evacuation plan, it’s possible that a dog or cat will run off while you’re focusing on keeping your family safe. A microchip or a GPS-compatible tag can help you find your pets once it’s safe to return to the area.

Morning Person 101

Are you a morning person? Yeah, me either. Ever wish you could become one of those rare morning people? Those people that are eager to start their day, feeling refreshed and energized. The ones that get in that morning workout or wrap up some work before many of us even hit the snooze button…for the first time. Wouldn’t it be something? The few days out of the year when I do actually wake up at 5am it has been awesome. I freaking love it…. So I have been on the hunt to figure out how to do that everyday. Here are the five things I have found out. Welcome to Morning Person 101.

  1. Get your body moving. Whether it’s a short walk around your neighborhood or a rigorous 5:30 am spin class, getting your blood pumping will help wake up your body Plus there are a ton of other benefits, like stress and anxiety reduction. Which will really help you stay awake all day… and make you want to keep doing this. I set out my workout clothes in front of my alarm. Can’t miss them.
  2. Let the light in. Whether natural or artificial, light tells your brain its time to get up and get going. If your room doesn’t have big ass windows where you can open the blinds up, get a sunrise alarm. Best thing ever! I really dig mine. It slowly brightens over a 30 minute period… just like a sunrise! Added bonus if you put it on the other side of the room. Putting your alarm clock next to your bed so you can swat it off is just asking for failure. Get yo ass up!
  3. Prep and eat breakfast. Actually eat it. I am right there with those of you who chose the skip breakfast, but it is key to perking up your energy in the morning. Gotta get that gut moving. Try going for a protein-focused meal. I am personally big on shakes. They get me the nutrients I need, high protein and they are fast, easy and great on the go.
  4. Feed your mind. Stimulate your brain and do something you enjoy first thing in the morning. Try reading a favorite book, catching up on the latest Skimm, doing daily meditation, or setting intentions. I am really into intentions right now. I have a journal and in the morning I am writing down my intention for the day. Then at night I journal about how it went…. or whatever it is I want to journal about.
  5. Cross it off. James Clear talks about giving ourselves instant rewards. So if you wake up early then you need to do something that says, “You go, boo! Look at you!” I put up a calendar on my wall and I cross it off. For me it’s as satisfying as crossing off your TO DO list.

Well, these are a few things I have found that I think could really work. Now… to put them to the test. Let’s stay in touch on this one, okay, y’all! Send me messages from time to time. I want to hear how it’s going! And create a little chat below! I think we all could you the support!

Till next time,

Fix It And List It

Every little touch makes your one of a kind home memorable.

It seems like almost every time I walk into someone’s home they ask me what I think their home is worth and what can they do to get more money. Well… you’ve gotta fix it to list it, babe.

You’ve Gotta Fix It To List It, Babe

When you’re getting ready to list your home, it’s super important to make sure you are showing it in the best light. It has to look fabulous! Taking time to highlight its strengths and fix up some of its possible weaknesses can make a big difference in how fast it sells and of course, price. Here are my top five recommended fixes to make before selling your home.

Paint Those Walls

Giving your home a fresh coat of paint is one of the most cost-effective ways to spruce it up, and generally, it can be a do-it-yourself project. Make sure cover any walls with scratches and chips and consider updating any accent walls with a more neutral coat. The hot look at the moment is a soft grey wall with white trim… but I have to say white walls with black trim is super fabulous in a farmhouse chic home and so memorable!

Spit Shine Those Floors.

Hardwood floors are a very desirable feature in a home, so you want them to look their best. Give them a really good spit shine and fix scratches or dull areas. If your carpet is worn or stained maybe this is the time to get some laminate hardwoods! And don’t forget the tile in your kitchen or bathrooms. Re-grouting can go a long way in making dingy tile work look brand new!

Floors And Paint… Hello, Beautiful

Brighten Up The Landscape.

The very first thing any future buyer is going to see if that curb appeal. Show buyers your home is the full package by dressing up the outside… not just the inside. Clean up walkways and driveways, plant seasonal flowers and plants, trim bushes and trees, install outdoor décor pieces and fill in mulch and gravel. Make it pop.

Fix The Fixtures.

Leaky faucet? Rusted drains? Loose drawer handle? Making these small fixes can make a big difference to potential buyers with detailed-orientated minds. Improve your kitchen. An outdated kitchen can be a real eyesore in a home. Updating cabinetry, repairing or replacing countertops, and installing new faucets and sinks may be worth the investment

Fill The Home With Love

My last fix it to list it bonus tip is to add cheerful decor pieces to really make it feel homey but neutral. Check out Pinterest or Etsy to see what is trending or hire a professional stager to give your home the right touches to make it pop. You want to invite buyers in and not want to leave. Make your home stand out.

Live In The Moment

I really struggle to live in the moment.

I want so badly to live in the moment, I just, I don’t know, don’t. I’m notorious for getting stuck in my head. I  always seem to worry about the future, what people think, what I look like, how will I do xyz. Then the next thing I know I am reflecting on my day and I realize that I was over stressed about the silliest things, or I wasn’t paying enough attention to something or worse someone. Does this sound like y’all? Oh, good! I am so glad I am not alone.

Through reading, podcasts, word of mouth, maybe written in the sky a few times… we all know there are major benefits to living in the moment. Did you know simply living in the moment can ease fears, boost concentration and make you better in bed… Oh, yeah, baby! And that’s just a list of my favs! Living in the moment is incredible. I wish I had a secret answer to help me do it every moment of every single blessed day.

Just the other day I got home and cried as I reflected on how not in the moment I was that day…. This was a big day for us.

He got to fly for the first time and we got to go to the beach for the first time in a year plus. Obviously, I was so excited…. Ooops… Mistake #1. That night after reflecting I realized that my biggest blunder was putting way too much pressure on me and this amazing day.  Worse yet, putting too much pressure on my 2 year old son who has as much energy as the Tasmanian Devil. Perfection is the enemy of progress. And seriously who can live up to those expectations?! I can’t. I’m chugging along on the Mama Bear Hot Mess Express. I seriously dripped sweat the entire day. It was disgusting. And Duke pooped 4 times that day… like what the hell did this kid eat?! In conclusion… this day was just not destined to be “Perfect”

But guess what, it really was kind of perfect. We had so much fun and the next morning Duke woke up jabbering about how much fun he had. I got to spend the day exploring  and learning the world with my son… How more perfect can a day get?! Maybe if I would have stopped trying to be perfect I could have seen just how perfect everything really was.

So, maybe you have the whole perfecting thing down. What about stress? I think this is one that is probably the easiest to correct, yet the hardest to correct..I live with postpartum anxiety so overwhelmed has become my daily state of being. It haunts my every move. But I have learned a few tricks to help me cope… Keep in mind I do none of these well. If I did I probably wouldn’t be writing this post, bitching about how much I suck at living in the moment… I digress… My favorite nugget is reminding myself to take one bite at time.  I always say, How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. I get overwhelmed and stressed out because I look at the entire picture instead of that first brush stroke. Sound familiar? Sometimes though, saying my mantra doesn’t help. Sometimes I just have to do something. Anything! Just do something to get started so I can see nothing is impossible and I can do all things.

What about trying to hurry hurry, hurry? Are any of y’all guilty of the hurry up express? Me! However, you can’t rush life. Everything has it’s own time. Anyone who knows me knows I am a Southern Belle at heart… but apparently I lived in NYC too long and I get the hustle speed real quick. Recently I have been trying to slow down. I am working really hard to be mindful of everything I do… even how quickly I walk. Slow down. It is amazing how simply slowing down fixes so much of my Can’t Live In The Moment Ailments. When I focus on slowing down I find the I don’t stress, I breathe more, I forget about being perfect. I just… well, live in the moment! So maybe that is the magic trick to get me to live in the moment. Slow Down.

I will say that from what I know about living in the moment and being present… it’s a life long journey. You don’t wake up one day and say “Yep, today is the day. I am going to always and forever live in the moment.” I am sure there are people out there that can totally do that… And well, they suck. I mean it, with love, of course. But for real… we have got to, absolutely must, give ourselves a freaking break. Let it go (Don’t sing the song… HA!). Live your life the best you can. Remember, a big part of living in the moment is not living in the past. Don’t dwell on not living in the moment yesterday. Shrug it off and keep going. This moment needs your attention.

I hope this was helpful… Since I am totally on the struggle bus here and I am sure many of y’all are too it would be amazing if y’all could share some things that you do to stay present. Help a girl out!

Till next time, muah!

Organize Your Life

Life is chaotic, messy and sometimes overwhelming.  I say sometimes, that’s funny, I mean every single flipping day! Let’s be real… life RARELY turns out as we plan. I am almost always late, or forgetting  to call someone back or well… anything and everything else that I was supposed to do. That is why I have my little organizational hacks to keep life on track. Well on track as much as life of a single, real estate, boss mom can be. Here are my tops:

CRM (Contact Management System

For those not in the business world this may be foreign. Those of you in the entrepreneurial biz sphere you know we live and die by our CRMs. However, for me I have learned to leverage mine not just for business. Trade secret, I use mine for my personal contact management too. Hell yes I do! Okay, so let me break it down… Basically a CRM helps us to keep in touch with leads, clients, customers, etc. I use BoomTown so I can text, email, call, set To Dos (like mail cards), blah, blah, blah. All of this helps me connect. SO why not use it for those in my personal life too?! I use my CRM to remind me to call friends to grab drinks every so often, to send birthday cards, Check in on friends when they have been having a tough go of it… Pretty much anything that is important. I want people to know how much I love them… even if I have a horrible brain that never remembers anything. It has really helped me stay connected. Of course remember I said we live and die by them so when I don’t use it properly… whelp, shit falls apart and I become a total hermit. SO that sucks!

Push Journal

Not to promote a bunch of stuff but I can’t help it. I seriously love this shit. My next obsession is the Push Journal. It was created by the one and only Chalene Johnson (Side note: if you don’t follow her… um, you need to!). The Push is a cross between a journal, goal setter, and planner. It’s a whole lot of Boss. This is my fav planner because it keeps everything organized as far as my events go but it also keeps my To Dos focused on my goals. It helps me organize my goals and attack them in the most effective way possible. And if you’re in the business world it is structured in 3 month segments so you can push to achieve your quarterly goals. Plus I love the layout. I find it to be very helpful in the brainstorming process.

Clothes Bins

This sounds super basic. It really is. I can’t even lie. Every night I put Duke’s clothes in it for the next day. This is super helpful because I am not always the one who takes him to daycare so… I can’t guarantee that he will be handsomely styled everyday. But with my bins I can! For me, I don’t use a bin…my clothes are to complex for a bin… MmmKay! I have a hook on the back of my door and I plan my outfits on Sunday and hang them up. That way I don’t have to think so much. HA! I am totally serious. I get so stressed out about what I am going to wear so this eliminates all that stress and makes my mornings super quick and easy. As a total non-morning person, this is a blessing.

Water Jug

Water jug… stay with me, y’all! My last little organization nugget is a water jug. Drinking enough water is so so important. It helps you combat stress, acne, scaly skin and so much more. It is vital to our lives to get that water in our systems. I use the one gallon YETI. I carry that baby with me everywhere. I fill her up and make it my mission to drink every drop of it before the day ends. The YETI is nice because I spend a lot of time in my car so I need something that will hold up to the heat of the sun beaming in on my car. That baby keeps my ice water icy! At the end of the day I always pour that last bit thinking it will be hot. WRONG. Ice Ice Baby! Get one. You’ll love it.

SO that’s my list. I hope these are helpful… I will say, in my little opinion I think organization is most successful when it fits your life.  If it doesn’t fit seamlessly into your daily routine then it wont be helpful. It might even make you less organized. So play around with these and see what y’all like.

Y’all know I love to hear from you. So drop me a line below, Tell me what you thought of these hacks and def share some of your own tricks!

Discover Your Dream Home Online, Like A Pro

Hunting for a new home online is a great place to start your search, but there are a few things you really must know. Looking online obviously should not be your end all be all. Good listing agents are excellent at highlighting the best features of the home, but keep in mind there may be more than meets the eye. To make the most of your time and efforts and to gather a well-rounded picture of home listings online, keep the following four things in mind.

  1. Stay up to date. When you start your search, make sure you find a site that pulls up-to-date listings directly from the multiple listing service (MLS) where real estate agents actively post their most current homes for sale. Many online resources update less often or fail to remove listings that are off the market, making it more difficult to sort through the clutter. Feel free to use my free site TheAngelOakGroup.com that updates every hour. Plus you can create your own personal profile where you can save searches, get notifications on your exact dream home, and more!
  2. Pictures can be deceiving. Real estate photographers are experts at showing a home in the best possible light. Many use tools and strategies to boost appeal, such as a fisheye lens to make areas look larger and creative editing to make colors and textures really pop. But, often listings will not contain photos of unappealing parts of the home, like small closets or outdated bathrooms.
  3. If you are searching on sites like Zillow remember while those sights can provide you with tons of little info like neighborhood demographics and everyone’s favorite feature… the Home Value Estimate. Um, this is a legit estimate. It is rarely accurate. Trust your REALTOR® to help you understand the true value of the home you have fallen for. A computer is great for pulling data but it still takes a trained mind to understand the data and analyze it properly. So trust your agent to help you navigate price.
  4. See it to believe it. Once you find what appears to be your dream home online, call up your real estate agent and schedule a showing. You want to take the opportunity to vet the home in person and explore every part of it before beginning the offer process. Your real estate agent will help you cover all your bases and will ask questions you may not have thought of.

5 Deal Killers

5 Deal Killers

Negotiation is an art in real estate, but skilled negotiators can usually find some common ground that can make everyone happy. On the other hand, using the wrong negotiation tactics can sink a deal quick. Here are some negotiation tactics buyers (and real estate pros) should avoid:

  1. Lowball offers: Going far below market value when you make an offer. It damages your cred as a buyer and can be insulting to the seller. The seller has a range in mind that they’ll accept, and if you’re not even approaching the low end of that range, they won’t even consider your offer.
  2. Incremental negotiations: Don’t continue to go back to the seller with small increases in your offer ($1,000 or less). The constant back-and-forth can grow tiresome and lead the seller to consider other opportunities.
  3. “Take it or leave it”: Try not to draw a line in the sand with your initial offer. The seller can get defensive if you immediately show that you’re unwilling to budge. Even if it’s true, don’t make a show of it.
  4. Nitpicking after inspection: Obviously if inspection reveals a major issue, it should be factored into the final sale price. But insisting on a lower price for every minor repair can put negotiations in a stalemate.
  5. Asking for more, more, more: Some buyers will request that the sellers throw in add-ons like furniture or appliances that weren’t included in the listing. Try to avoid giving the seller a reason to build up resentment and think that you’re being greedy.

5 Secret Cleaning Weapons

Clean DIY Style Before The Holiday Mayhem

The Holidays are coming! Yes, that means family is coming in too! Is your home in need of some cleaning or home maintenance that have been lingering on your to-do list for too long because you’re SO NOT looking forward to those countless trips to the hardware or craft store? There are some projects you can tackle with items that are almost certainly already in your home! BOOM.

Vinegar: There’s probably a jug of vinegar in your pantry right now. Got some clogged shower heads? You can soak items in vinegar to remove mineral deposits, and you can boil vinegar in your microwave to remove odors and make it easier to clean.

Cola: A can of Coke can be used to clean tons of surfaces, including your glass windows, porcelain toilet, or chrome fixtures. Just be sure to do some research before using it on metal surfaces, as it can be corrosive.

Baking soda: A baking soda-vinegar paste is great for cleaning bathrooms and kitchens. Baking soda can also be used to absorb odors… stick a box of it in the back of any space to clear the air.

Butter knife: Screwdrivers are easy to misplace. If you can’t find a screwdriver when you need one, a butter knife, preferably an older one that you no longer need on the table for Turkey Dinner, is pretty effective for both Phillips- and flat-head screws. Who knew!

Toothpaste: Is there an unsightly scratch on your car or bike? The grit in tarter-control toothpastes makes for an effective scratch remover. Clean the scratch, apply some toothpaste, let it sit for a few minutes, and then buff it out with paper towel. Ta-Da!

Get through the holidays in shiningly fabulous breeze. And save some dough for… um, maybe a little something pretty for you! Sounds like a win-win!

5 Things You Need To Know When Pricing Your Home

5 Things You Need To Know To Price Your Home

When pricing your home, one of the best ways to figure out what that price tag should be is to look at comparable sales. Of course, there’s rarely a perfect apples-to-apples comparison, so a pricing decision often relies on comparisons to several recent sales in the area and a number of other things to consider. Here are five things to look for in a sales comparison.

  1. Location: You’ve hear it… Location. Location. Location. Homes in the same neighborhood typically follow the same market trends. Comparing your home to another in the same neighborhood is a good start, but comparing it to homes on the same street or block is even better. On the flip side… If your home is on the edge of town don’t compare your home to a home that is close to the downtown area.
  2. Date Sold: It varies by location, but housing markets can see a ton of change in a short time. It‘s best to use the most recent sales data available. It’s important to remember that an area may be hot today but gone tomorrow.
  3. Home Build: Look for homes with similar architectural styles, numbers of bathrooms and bedrooms, square footage, and other basics.
  4. Features and Upgrades: Remodeled bathrooms and kitchens can raise a home’s price. Be sure to look for similar bells and whistles. If you can find pictures that really helps to give you an idea if your home has a similar aesthetic to the homes you are using to compare it to.
  5. Sale Types: Homes that are sold as short sales or foreclosures are often in distress or sold at a lower price than they’d receive from a more typical sale. These homes are not as useful for comparisons.

Pricing your home can be very overwhelming. Hopefully these tips make it so much more helpful when the time comes to put a price tag on a home that has so many priceless memories. Go into it like you are the buyer, buying your home all over again for the first time. Remember how analytical and critical you were back then? Think like that! Then call a professional who really knows the area and can really detail and layout the comps for you to see and understand. Pricing your home doesn’t have to be hard. Especially when you have an awesome pricing agent on your side!